Eco-Friendly 2011: Think Forward…Then Backwards
Start Your Eco-New Year Green. Marian Bantjes knows how.
By Guest Contributor Heather Parlato | 626-344-2756 firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many ways to reduce, reuse and recycle my way towards sustainable projects. Over the next month I would like to share a few ideas to help you think more sustainably. I welcome feedback and your own tips to share with others, too.
This recent holiday season, I created a series of holiday & thank you cards that conformed to some really great sustainable practices. I was able to do this easily by working with an eco-conscious printer that makes offers its customers sustainable options. But what happens when you’re just getting started? Is all the research is in front of you?
There’s much more to sustainable design and printing than choosing eco-friendly inks and papers. Much more. In fact, those making the biggest strides reducing the design industry’s impact on the waste stream are examining the design process in reverse. This kind of outside the thinking, or backwards thinking, is progressive and effective.
For example, speakers Celery Design whom I saw at HOW Design conference last summer in Denver, began by thinking about the end of things: the landfill. From there, they worked backwards, examining each project’s item as it progressed along the chain, building in the highest recyclability and safest practices along the way. Here’s one great Rule of Thumb…
Create Demand for Useful Things
We’ve all have the best of intentions of creating pieces that are kept and used and enjoyed again and again We want our creations to be passed on and reused rather than discarded or recycled, right? But reality is different. As recipients of promotional items and print pieces, we save only a small percentage of them. To avoid having our creations pass quickly into the remainder bin, think carefully, then think again and again about how you can make a thing that will have a purpose beyond its intial delight or surprise. Take a different approach. Make less of it. Refine your target distribution to those who will get the most out of it. And, in some cases, advise your client against producing the physical piece but create instead something that creates demand. Like a match that needs a strike plate. Or a needle that needs a thread. Then, design to meet both purpose and need.
Last year, Marian Bantjes decided to repurpose her holiday cards into valentine’s gifts for friends and clients. Focusing the design process on working with reclaimed materials, she had the cards laser-cut into lacy hearts and cupids.
Knowing her audience and their brainstorming ways, Dyana Valentine made this branded scoutbook a part of her new year’s gift pack, printed at pinball publishing, using recycled & FSC certified papers, soy-based inks, and running on renewable energy.
In my own (shop parlatodesign.com) quest for usefulness, I decided to create thank you cards and gift tags as gifts to my clients and friends, so they got at least 2 uses total. I used dry-based toner inks for an easy de-inking process, and 100% PCW paper at eco-friendly Indie Printing.